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Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 October 2023

Tom Horne
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
Elizabeth Pierce
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
Rachel Barrowman
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
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Summary

Scotland has always played a major part in both public and academic understandings of the Viking Age (usually defined as 750–1050 ce) and its aftermath. Scandinavian Scotland was linked south to England and the European continent, south-west to Ireland, north-west to the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland and North America, and east to the Norwegian homeland from which many Scandinavian Scots are thought to have come. Unlike many of these other regions in the western Viking world (with the exception of the new polities of Faroe and Iceland), Scotland retained formal and political, as well as cultural and linguistic, connections with Scandinavia well beyond the end of the Viking Age, until 1266 in the Hebrides and 1468/9 in the Northern Isles. As a result of the longevity of its Scandinavian contacts, it is arguably Scotland that best fits the model of a ‘Viking diaspora’, extending throughout the Viking Age and into what is generally known as the ‘Late Norse’ period.

It was thus no accident that the very first Viking Congress was held in Shetland in 1950. The publication of the papers from that meeting (Simpson 1954) set the tone for a lively interdisciplinary conversation between archaeologists, historians, philologists, onomasts, art historians and academics from other disciplines which continues today and in which Colleen Batey has had a central role. It was at the 1989 Viking Congress in Caithness and Orkney that I first met Colleen, a fellow Durham graduate, who had already established herself as an expert on the Viking and Late Norse archaeology of Caithness at the previous Viking Congress (Batey 1987). I remember Colleen as a lively guide on excursions to Freswick and Robertshaven in Caithness and Orphir in Orkney, as well as presenting a paper on the Viking and Late Norse graves of Caithness and Sutherland. After the Congress, I was asked to join Colleen and Chris Morris in editing the proceedings (Batey et al. 1993) and I well remember a long, hard but convivial weekend in Glasgow preparing the final version for submission to the Press. Just how we managed it all in those days before email or electronic documents is a mystery to me now, for back then even those who had a newfangled personal computer still mailed in a typescript which we then sent on to the Press for typesetting. Given the size and complexity of the volume, we and the Press did well, I think, to get it out in time for the next Congress in 1993.

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The Viking Age in Scotland
Studies in Scottish Scandinavian Archaeology
, pp. xix - xx
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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